Deconstructing Lyrical Mythologies: Stand By Your Man by Billy Sherrill & Tammy Wynette

October 17th, 2018

Ok.  I KNOW I promised Jolene first.  But then someone mentioned THIS fucking song, so here we are.

I ALSO know that I said I would “respectfully and lovingly” deconstruct these songs.   So, “respectfully and lovingly”…. 

Fuck it.  I’m re-writing this shit.

I mean, just WATCH this video of Tammy Wynette singing this song.  She’s basically just Stepford-Wifing her way through it….

Let’s break it down:

“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman” (Duh)

“Giving all your love to just one man.” (Just one?  ONE?!!  HA!!!!)

“You’ll have bad times” (UGH!!)

“And he’ll have good times,”  (AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!)

“Doin’ things that you don’t understand” (Seriously?!  Let’s not play dumb, honey.  We are not dumb.)

“But if you love him you’ll forgive him,” (Noooope.  No no no.   If you LOVE someone you hold them accountable!  WHY is this still not basic knowledge?!)

“Even though he’s hard to understand” (How can you forgive something you don’t understand?!  That’s not forgiveness, that’s Stockholm Syndrome.)

“And if you love him oh be proud of him” (Wait….we’re giving him a gold star?   For WHAT?! For playing?! Is this where you follow up with “Don’t hate the player, hate the game?” The game needs players or it isn’t a thing!!  WHO DO YOU THINK INVENTED THE DAMN GAME?!?!)

“‘Cause after all he’s just a man” (Oh!  Yep.  Guess what men are!!  Just GUESS!!  They’re HUMAN FUCKING BEINGS!! Not disobedient angler fish, for FUCK SAKE!!)

“Stand by your man,”(Shit….. Why?  What’s he gonna do now!?)

“Give him two arms to cling to,” (Oh, NOW he needs something?)

“And something warm to come to” (Microwave a Hot Pocket, Motherfucker.)

“When nights are cold and lonely” (COUCH!!)

“Stand by your man,” (Boooooooooooo!!!!!!)

“And show the world you love him” (Why does the world have to know our business?!?)

“Keep giving all the love you can” (You BETTER keep giving, so you don’t lose your damn mind…)

“Stand by your man” (Stop telling me what to do!!!)
“Stand by your man,” (Middle Finger on WhatsApp 2.17)

“And show the world you love him” (Again, none of their damn business)
“Keep giving all the love you can” (Middle Finger on WhatsApp 2.17)
“Stand by your man” (Middle Finger on WhatsApp 2.17)

 

Nope!  No more of this driv.

Here,  I re-wrote this shit: 

Stand On Your Man

Sometimes It’s hard to be a woman

Taking all your shit from all the men

You’ll have bad times

They’ll have good times

and leave all the shame in your hands

 

But if you love them, stand your ground
even if they’re standing on it too
And if you love them, stand right upon them
‘Cause after all, we’re people too

 

Stand on your man

immobilize his arms too

give him a stare that cuts through

those lies, so bold, and ornery

 

Stand on your man,
And show the world you’ll hold him
Keep giving all the weight you can
Stand on your man.

 

Stand on your man,
And show the world he’s faking.
Give fewer fucks thank you think you can.
Stand on your man

—————————————————————————————–
THERE!!! I FIXED IT!
*Fuck!*

Deconstructing Lyrical Mythologies: A Promise

October 10th, 2018

I see so much amazing happening right now.    SO. MUCH.

This may be a very odd thing to read from me, especially at this time.  Especially because I’ve been spitting a million furies on my social media feeds.  Especially because much of my music is spiced with frustration borne of my own, sloppy relations with the menfolk.

Trump, Kavanaugh, Weinstein, Louis CK, and all the other fat, old pukes that can’t, for the life of them, understand how basic, human civility works.   What ARE women…really?

But let me assure you, I believe this is a good thing.   The Band-aids are coming off hard and bringing a few short-hairs right along with them.  Painful?  Yep.  But, to quote a character from one of my favorite children’s tales The Never-ending Story, “It has to hurt if it’s to heal!”

Women everywhere are stripping back the bandages that shield their raw and fetid wounds.   In doing so, we are also stripping off the coverings of what the menfolk did to wound.

Good.    Keep pulling.

Pull harder.

These pullings are revealing the depth of what it means to be under a patriarchal system.  It is crouching in every crevice of our culture and has been for hundreds of years.   We are ALL living it, and we are ALL (men, women, girls, boys, and every single human living on the entirety of the gender spectrum) oppressed by it.  In fact, I believe that ironically, the patriarchy is the MOST inclusive system out there.  Nobody is safe and we ALL suffer underneath it.    Yes, even the bloated old goats of the 1%.  They are the most miserable and fearful of us all.  Seriously, stop kicking us.  We are already down here.   sheesh…

The stories are being revealed in  the music industry, the tech industry, the gig economy…..new Hollywood AND old Hollywood!   Just check out what Molly Ringwald has been talking about lately.  Sigh…….poor John Hughes….

I want to help.    I want to keep this unveiling going until we have shined this light in every creepy-ass corner.

Here’s what I’m going to do to contribute: 

I’m going to lift the veil on some of the most beloved songs I know.   I’m going to destroy them for us so we can start writing them again.    I’m going to do so in the most loving and respectful manner that I can, so that when I do hear, sing, or play them in the future (and I will), I will do so with a new reverence that I have built around them for myself.   They won’t hold me in that awkward “I love this song but it makes me feel weird” limbo any longer.

Deconstructing Lyrical Mythologies will be my contribution to the lifting.

You will be able to find one song a month, deconstructed and/or re-imagined from the inside out.  I’ll probably share them on social media too, but they will all live here.

There is so much lifting we still need to do and we could use all the muscle we’ve got.  Lift wherever you feel inspired to lift.

I’ll start with Jolene by Dolly Parton.

Did I mention this is going to hurt?

I’m sorry.   I love you.

Hardly Strictly Sideshow!

September 18th, 2018

The biggest free show in San Francisco is coming up and we want to get you all warmed up for it.   We’d like to be your “musical fluffers”, if you will.

 

We know there is no alcohol on the festival grounds, save the folks selling tall-boys out of coolers in the woods.  So, if you’re hankering to get a stiff drink in your system before rolling out to the park, we’ve got you covered!

Catch my band and the Curt Yagi Trio from 4-6pm at Milk Bar on the historic Haight Street!  We will keep you entertained while you fill the tank and wait for your favorite bands to hit the stage at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.

Saturday    October 6th     No Cover!!    21+     4-6pm  Milk Bar

 

See you at the Sideshow!

I Have To Go Do This….Thing

September 10th, 2018

I recently gave notice at my place of employment.  I have been there for 12 years.   I’m terrified.

This wasn’t something I did out of spite for maltreatment at my job.  It wasn’t out of exhaustion (though, some days I wonder how I managed to squeak by), it wasn’t because I was angry or felt undervalued.  There may have been a bit of boredom involved, but that’s MY fault.

I have been batting this idea around like a lazy tabby for a few years.  Most of my close friends and family are well aware of my ongoing waffling.  But all of this doesn’t lessen the shock of having done the damn thing.   I’m not going on to any other company, nor am I planning to seek traditional employment for a while.  Our current economy is not kind to my kind.  I will have to sign up for Obama-care, I will have to seek other support for dental/mental/physical care.  Tax season is going to be WEIRD.   I will have to fight for every dollar in a manner I have not had to do in the past.   I recognize how big of a deal this is.

Have I mentioned that I’m terrified?

This place took good care of me.  It anticipated my needs, it encouraged my growth, it challenged me to seek out my own blind spots and supported me in enlightening them.  Additionally, it actively noticed my talents, even if they had nothing to do with my day to day responsibilities AND provided a platform in which to play in THOSE areas as well.   This place made it clear to me that it valued me and wanted me around.  It invested in me in ways that I never expected a job to do, which is why it took me so long to tell it that I wanted my leave.  It’s totally all me, not…..it.

It feels like a SUPER amicable breakup where I get to keep most of the items I’ve accumulated over the years AND I get joint custody of the campus pets I’ve come to pet-sit over the years.   We may even hang out again in the future, who knows!!

I need to see if I can do this.  I must know if I’m truly fashioned for this kind of a life.  I need to see what would happen if I dedicated all of my time to this musical aspiration of mine.

Part of me feels too old.  I’m almost 40 and I’m starting NOW?  Sure.  What else am I going to do with the 60 years I have left, more or less?  Who am I going to be THEN?  What bullshit thought forms will I have sloughed off in the process? What bullshit thought forms will I gain? Who will I meet out there?  Friend or foe?  How much more music can I possibly make!!?!

This is the sort of shit that keeps me up at night.  And I LOOOOOOOVE sleep.  For the sake of my sanity, I must find out.

So, this is my formal announcement to the world, universe, God, Source…..whatever you want to call it.

I have to go do this thing.  Please write?

Alpha (Work in Progress)

May 25th, 2018

was once a girl on top.  I had attitude and a knowledge that I was powerful and could change things. It was built into me as if it was an application the software came with.   When I saw mean or unfair behaviorfrom anyone, I would fearlessly expose it.     I became confused when the behavior that I had modeled when presented with the same unfairness wasn’t practiced.   I was mortified Why weren’t my values being reflected back to me in the behavior of the people I respected

It was a profound feeling of worthlessness.  I didn’t understand that others were fearful because I didn’t know what that fear felt like.  

So I forged ahead with my fearless. 

 

Until one day a boy told me I was not pretty.   

It was a statement of fact that I was not being invited to reason againstso I didn’t.   I reflected on all the times I was left suspended after a personal affront.  I was left waiting for another human to expose it.  I thought “Maybe this is why?” Now I was afraid 

was not being invited to reason againstso I didn’t.  Over time his statement became a part of me. A new organ that materialized between my senses and my understanding of myself.  

This new organ metabolized everything I heardsawatesmelledlovedand distilled it down to 

“I didn’t get this test right because I am not pretty.”  “I didn’t get invited to this party because I am not pretty.”  “I didn’t get into this college because I am not pretty.”  “I didn’t get this job because..” “This response because….” “This love because….” I was not being invited to reason againstso I didn’t.   

We are  all alphas, in the beginning.  This is how they tame us.   They lump our worth into a quality.  A grace, a charm, a sin.  We are not warned when this will come and we aren’t prepared to wage against it.  The real danger is not that they do it.  It’s that we believe them.

That we are not invited to reason againstso we don’t.  We are not taught that this is an option. 

That the very statements they make about us are based on assumption.  That we are put on this Earth to enlighten, to educate each other, to enrich beyond the senses.  To invite each other to reason beyond our individual experiences.

That what we observe of each other isn’t fact, it’s an invitation.

THANK YOU!

May 3rd, 2018

THANKS to everyone who came out to the Back Room in Berekely!  We had a hootenanny and a half and hope you did too.  

 

Image Credit @santossocialclub

Next EZ and the Mightiest Machine show will be at 8pm on Wednesday, June 13th at the Milk Bar!  Hope to see you cityfolk out there!

 

EZ and the Mightiest Machine at the Backroom!

February 26th, 2018

Poster Designed by AJ Leighton

 

On Saturday, April 28th, I’m stoked to be playing with my band, The Mightiest Machine at the cozy Backroom in Berkeley.     This venue is perfect for our songs and you will get a rare opportunity to experience our show the way it is intended: Up Close and In Your Lap.

It’s ALL AGES and BYOB, so bring everyone and whatever is in your minibar!

We are pleased to be joined by the fabulous Eileen Torrez

Eileen Torrez!

Please tell your friends and mark your calendars as space is limited!  This is going to be a delightfully fun hang.

 

I’m at The Poster Room This Sunday!

November 7th, 2017

Marty Atkinson and I will be back at the Poster Room at the Fillmore this Sunday night before Ani DiFranco hits the main stage.   She’s one of my favorites and I have been making this pilgrimage to the Poster Room for the past 4 years.

If you’ve got a ticket or were planning on being there, swing by the Poster Room upstairs to grab a bite, beverage, and we will serenade you before the main show!

TICKETS

Writing Songs For Others

November 1st, 2017

Once upon a winters day in 2016, I was tagged in a Facebook post.

Someone was looking for a female musician to share an “empowering anthemic song” for consideration for…..something, and a friend had typed my name into the comments.

It so happened that I had just finished polishing off a feminist, punk rock version of a 1970s Paul Simon tune, so I sent it off in hopes that it might spark some interest.  Then I forgot about it.

While it wasn’t what they were ultimately looking for, it must have sparked some interest because I received an email asking what else I had, which was encouraging!  I scoured my repertoire for my most anthemic-sounding tunes and sent what I thought was most appropriate.

Fast forward a bit through a few emails and conversations and I end up with a formal request for a commissioned song.  My first ever!

My brain did two things: “Whoa,  write a song that isn’t about me or my direct experiences?  But HOW?  Will it be authentic?  Will it be cheesy as fuck?  Does this make me a sellout? Most of all, will they LIKE it?!? This is terrifying.”

Also my brain: “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

Turns out this was one of the most gratifying songwriting exercises I’ve ever done.  Don’t get me wrong, when I write a song that ends up being the one in 1000 that actually turns out as intended, it has a particular amplitude of electricity.  However, this was a different kind of gratifying.

I’ve unpacked and re-packed this feeling in order to determine the why and how and have boiled it down to what it means (to me) to choose to write a song for others:

In choosing to write a commissioned piece, one is choosing:

  • To be in service to others (provided the service is in line with your values)
  • To practice deep listening (paying attention)
  • To send the ego on Vacation (Thank GOD)

Choosing to be in service to others – You cannot possibly sell out if your values are in alignment with the work you are being called upon to do.  This is always within your control.  How does your body feel when an opportunity comes your way?  Does your brain buzz with ideas immediately?  Does your chest hum with anticipation?  Would you do the work anyway even if you didn’t get the job, just to see if you could and just because you LOVE the idea of it?

These are all indicators that your values are in alignment with the the work.  Once that is settled, take a deep breath and trust the process.  For me, the hardest part of owning the work is to just knowing that I have already done the tough stuff.  Now all I have to do is trust and apply.

Just put the tools on the table and await instruction.

Practice deep listening – Ask ask ask ask ask alllllllll of the questions.    Ask within, ask without, ask everything you think you need to know and all of the things you also think might be obvious (hint: they aren’t).  Ask yourself what information you need to provide the product they are looking for and then ask THEM for the answers to those questions.  For instance, I assumed the folks I was writing for wanted a different kind of voice, a voice that I perceived as more powerful than my own.  When I told them I planned to hire a friend to do the vocals, they almost panicked,”What do you mean?  We want YOUR voice.  We fell in love with YOUR sound.”

OK!  This is also REALLY GOOD information.

Send the Ego on Vacation – It was at this point I had to consciously advise my ego to take a much needed vacation. “Girl, you’ve been racking up the hours!  Go have a day at the hot springs, on me.  Treat yo-self!”

In order to more deeply understand what kinds of feelings they were seeking to inspire with this song, I had to ask what could have been perceived as a question that was fishing for compliments.  I had to force myself to ask “Ok then! What is it about my voice in particular that caught your imagination?” It was deeper than just “what did you like about my voice?” (Oh, DO go on….)  It was a question designed to unearth more clues (Cool! How? Why?). If you invite the clients’ imagination into the process, you will always get more than you bargained for, which is a VERY good thing.  My ego (had she stuck around) would have covered my mouth and whispered, “Just take the damn compliment.”  Gracious, yes. But it would ultimately undermine the purpose of the work by eschewing an opportunity to know more.

The theme song was written for Story.co and follows two intrepid women on their quests to build their ideal lives.  It’s been fun to listen to them and I highly recommend subscribing to the podcast to join in on their adventures:  You can scroll to the bottom of this page to have a listen to the full song.   Hope you enjoy!

We Have a Theme Song!

New Music Video from Chance’s End!

July 24th, 2017

I’ve been nibbling, nay CHOMPING at my nails to finally share this with you all.

My genius partner in musical crime, Chance’s End birthed this beauty from his brains.    I am thrilled to have been a part of it and to be able to witness the stunning imagery take shape.

So many amazing people played a part in this project and I can’t wait to see what comes next out of the mind of Chance’s End. 

Enjoy!!